UK groups invest $260M to create AI doctoral training centers

More than 300 companies, universities and organizations are investing more than $260 million to support 16 new centers for doctoral training in AI in the United Kingdom.

On Thursday, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced a $130.4 million investment in the new doctoral training centers for AI. Prior to the announcement, project partners and universities had already invested about $131.6 million in the effort. The hope is that the centers will encourage PhD students to use AI to improve several societal issues and keep the UK at the forefront of the AI global revolution.

“Artificial intelligence has great potential to drive up productivity and enhance every industry throughout our economy, from more effective disease diagnosis to building smart homes,” Greg Clark, U.K. secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said in a statement. “(Thursday’s) announcement is our modern Industrial Strategy in action, investing in skills and talent to drive high skilled jobs, growth and productivity across the U.K..”

Four of the 16 new centers will specifically focus on using AI for healthcare-related challenges:

  • The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in AI-enabled Healthcare Systems will focus on applying AI to extract information from patient data to accelerate diagnosis and improve outcomes. The center will be based at the University College London.
  • The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare will focus using AI to provide more accurate decisions and reduce healthcare costs. The center will be based at Imperial College London.
  • The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence will focus on using AI to extract information from biomedical data sets. It will be based at the University of Edinburgh.
  • The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence for Medical Diagnosis and Care will focus on using AI to enhance diagnostic services and patient care, and will initially focus on cancer. It will be based at the University of Leeds.

The other centers include:

  • UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Foundational Artificial Intelligence
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence: Data Science and AI for Sustainable Futures
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence and Music
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Speech and Language Technologies and their Applications
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Accountable, Responsible and Transparent AI
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Advanced Computing
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Machine Intelligence for Nano-electronic Devices and Systems
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Social Intelligent Artificial Agents (SOCIAL)
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Interactive Artificial Intelligence
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Application of Artificial Intelligence to the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER)
  • UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Safe and Trusted Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology in a range of sectors, enabling new products and services and transforming data science. It allows us to develop new approaches to challenges as diverse as early disease diagnosis and climate change,” Sir Mark Walport, UKRI chief executive, said in a statement.

“To maintain its leadership in AI, the U.K. will need a new generation of researchers, business leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with new skills. Working with partners across academia and industry, the centres announced today will provide the foundations for these future leaders.”